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Old 18-06-2017, 09:41   #1
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Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

I've just signed up to crew on a boat delivery from Antigua to Baltimore with a 2004 Beneteau 473. The boat owner has decided not to hire a captain (delivery is too soon and couldn't arrange). He has assembled 4 amateur sailors, including myself, will an aggregate of a few hundred hours sailing.

I'm petitioning to the owner for cautious navigation. I.e. close to land at all times! The plans is to skirt the leeward islands and head for the Old Bahama Channel then head up the coast for ICW.

Doth thine internet have sage wisdom to spare? Which is the well trodden navigation? I'm trying to keep some vessels within earshot.
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Old 18-06-2017, 09:57   #2
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

Being close to land at all times is more of a hazard than a safety precaution in a boat. Owner is now Captain, he may accept input from "inexperienced crew", the Captain makes the decisions.
I believe you guys have something called a "Hurricane Season" that started a couple weeks ago, might want to look into that.
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Old 18-06-2017, 10:14   #3
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

If you have the 6' 11" keel, ..... the ICW should be fun.
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Old 18-06-2017, 10:34   #4
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

By close I mean a 100 or so miles. I know about "Hurricane Season"...I'm a surfer and typically pray for storms .
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Old 18-06-2017, 10:35   #5
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
If you have the 6' 11" keel, ..... the ICW should be fun.
Yes, this is a great concern for us and we have looked in to it....also mast height.
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Old 18-06-2017, 10:56   #6
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

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Originally Posted by jordantait View Post
Antigua to Baltimore

*snip*

I'm petitioning to the owner for cautious navigation. I.e. close to land at all times!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Calif.Ted View Post
Being close to land at all times is more of a hazard than a safety precaution in a boat.
I agree with Calif.Ted.

As a delivery skipper I run the numbers with every bid using pilot charts and ocean currents. When I win the bid I start updating based on actual weather forecasts. Someday I'll be surprised. Without running the numbers (again) I would expect to run most favored tack on the rhumb line between Antigua and the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. It isn't even worth diverting to find the Gulf Stream - you'll burn more time than you save.

In the ocean there are fewer ships and other traffic and there are no rocks to hit.

Inexperienced crew have more time to understand and respond to evolving situations. There are fewer multi-variate scenarios. "When in doubt go out." (tm)

In the last few months I've done two runs between the Chesapeake and the Caribbean. They were fine. I just got off a three day coastal run worrying about shipping, head boats, recreational traffic, eddies off land, and crew making a mistake. I'm exhausted.

By the way in addition to all the seamanship reasons to avoid what the OP proposes there are logistics. Stay close to land and you'll clear C&I in Florida which is a truly miserable experience. Go straight, pull into Little Creek (first left after the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel) and stop at Cobb's Marina (tell 'em Dave of Auspicious sent you - heck shoot me an email and I'll introduce you) and call CBP. Be respectful and ask nicely for permission for crew to go ashore for showers. The nice people will show up at your boat and process you in. No long expensive cab rides and harried stressed civil servants. Save some soft drinks to offer. I usually make brownies or hummus to offer as well.
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Old 18-06-2017, 11:23   #7
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

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I agree with Calif.Ted.

As a delivery skipper I run the numbers with every bid using pilot charts and ocean currents. When I win the bid I start updating based on actual weather forecasts. Someday I'll be surprised. Without running the numbers (again) I would expect to run most favored tack on the rhumb line between Antigua and the mouth of Chesapeake Bay. It isn't even worth diverting to find the Gulf Stream - you'll burn more time than you save.

In the ocean there are fewer ships and other traffic and there are no rocks to hit.

Inexperienced crew have more time to understand and respond to evolving situations. There are fewer multi-variate scenarios. "When in doubt go out." (tm)

In the last few months I've done two runs between the Chesapeake and the Caribbean. They were fine. I just got off a three day coastal run worrying about shipping, head boats, recreational traffic, eddies off land, and crew making a mistake. I'm exhausted.

By the way in addition to all the seamanship reasons to avoid what the OP proposes there are logistics. Stay close to land and you'll clear C&I in Florida which is a truly miserable experience. Go straight, pull into Little Creek (first left after the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel) and stop at Cobb's Marina (tell 'em Dave of Auspicious sent you - heck shoot me an email and I'll introduce you) and call CBP. Be respectful and ask nicely for permission for crew to go ashore for showers. The nice people will show up at your boat and process you in. No long expensive cab rides and harried stressed civil servants. Save some soft drinks to offer. I usually make brownies or hummus to offer as well.
Dave - This is really great, thank you! I'll discuss Cobb's marina with owner FOR SURE! Also, you mentioned you have done a similar delivery twice before...any chance you would be interested in a 3rd?
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Old 18-06-2017, 11:41   #8
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

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Originally Posted by jordantait View Post
Dave - This is really great, thank you! I'll discuss Cobb's marina with owner FOR SURE! Also, you mentioned you have done a similar delivery twice before...any chance you would be interested in a 3rd?
I've done a similar delivery twice before in the last few months. Usually I do four or five a year and have for several years.

I have an Amel to bring up from Martinique that has first call on my time. If we can work around my other commitments I'm happy to bid. I also lead a small (very small) consortium of delivery skippers and may be able to find you someone capable.

I also do consulting to help people on DIY passages. I can even provide a webinar so everyone on the crew can participate regardless of where they are.

The key here is that you aren't plowing new ground. If the goal is to move the boat the plans come together pretty easily. Not everything is intuitive (like the false perception of safety associated with staying near land). If everyone has plenty of time then harbor hopping with time to rest and recover, do some touring, reprovision, and move on can be great fun. It will take a very long time.

Email me at dave@auspiciousworks.com so we don't break any CF rules. This coming week is a writing and administrative week so I'm around.
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Old 18-06-2017, 13:00   #9
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

Ignoring the issues of hazardous areas and ICW clearances...I don't think "close" to land really matters, as opposed to "within SAR range". The flight range of SAR aircraft.

Either you are in range, or you aren't.

Going anything like "coastal" really needs to be looked at on a map, or with nav software that will let you plot a route and show you the total miles run. Being 'close' can double your trip length. Then of course there's the gulf stream, the winds (check the coast pilot) to be expected, all that good stuff.

I don't know how that route works out at that time and following up with Auspicious should be invaluable for you. But with a long trip and unknown ("Trust but verify") crew and ship? I'd be sure to pack a personal EPIRB and probably a handheld VHF as well, because you simply can't rely on those being present and *working* on someone else's boat. And also to make sure that *you* file a float plan, even if the owner says they will have done so. ("Trust but verify". Again.)
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Old 19-06-2017, 09:56   #10
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

Quote:
Originally Posted by jordantait View Post
I'm petitioning to the owner for cautious navigation. I.e. close to land at all times! The plans is to skirt the leeward islands and head for the Old Bahama Channel then head up the coast for ICW.
Sounds like you are in half mutiny already. You admit you have limited knowledge, yet you have decided the "safest" course based on your lack of knowledge.

Specifically, land is your enemy. Staying close to land is a huge mistake. If you are close to land, you will certainly run aground or into other boats when the visibility is poor or at night. What you want is sea room...and lots of it.

Accept that you don't have those skills. You must trust the skipper entirely, and accept his decisions. If you don't trust him, don't go. If you constantly second guess him you will be terrible crew and it will be a terrible trip.

Show your skipper some respect and ask him what he plans for the route, and possible harbours of refuge along the way. It should become obvious quite quickly if he knows what he is doing.

FWIW, I crossed the atlantic with an owner/skipper who did not have a clue. Being an experienced navigator, he assigned me the task of navigation. But he quickly questioned and doubted everything I did. I spent half the trip trying to get him to understand the idea of great circles, which he simply could not grasp. It was awful.
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Old 19-06-2017, 10:12   #11
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

The old addage that "The most dangerous thing at sea is land" in my experience holds a lot of truth.
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Old 19-06-2017, 10:32   #12
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

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The old addage that "The most dangerous thing at sea is land" in my experience holds a lot of truth.
indeed, it's interesting how many are of the notion that sailing close to land is the safe way.
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Old 19-06-2017, 10:44   #13
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

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If you don't trust him, don't go.
Absolutely agree. I tell my crew this.

On the other hand a good skipper can explain his decisions with being defensive. That's good too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hamburking View Post
I spent half the trip trying to get him to understand the idea of great circles, which he simply could not grasp. It was awful.
Many people need a globe and a Mercator chart to get it.

Be careful. If you plot a Great Circle for the passage from the US West Coast to Australia (ignoring all the great stops along the way) their heads will explode.
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Old 19-06-2017, 11:09   #14
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

Why not head almost due north towards Bermuda
Then turn hard to port
Just did this with the ARC USA
It's basically the same distance, in fact the old Bahama Channel to
Fla might be a bit longer than to Bermuda.
Then you got to deal with hob nobing it up the coast
You're talking maybe an extra 700-800nm
Sailing north on 65* was a breeze, didn't touch sail trim for
Many Many hours at a clip and only had to set one waypoint.
Cheers
Neil
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Old 19-06-2017, 11:42   #15
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Re: Amateur Crew Boat Delivery

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Why not head almost due north towards Bermuda
Then turn hard to port
Just did this with the ARC USA
It's basically the same distance, in fact the old Bahama Channel to
Fla might be a bit longer than to Bermuda.
Then you got to deal with hob nobing it up the coast
You're talking maybe an extra 700-800nm
Sailing north on 65* was a breeze, didn't touch sail trim for
Many Many hours at a clip and only had to set one waypoint.
Cheers
Neil
Southbound you want to get your Easting early and then hold it all the way South. I leave the Chesapeake on 135T and head for 65W before turning. I call that "aim for Bermuda and miss." *grin*

Northbound I don't see a reason to do anything but run the rhumb line (winds permitting and they almost always do) from Anguilla to the Chesapeake. If the ARC USA sent you a different way I'd like to know why. Was there some unusual weather artifact?
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